Daily Reflection
July 13th, 2000
Tom Shanahan, S.J.
Rector, Jesuit Community
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Hosea 11:1, 3-4, 8-9
Psalms 80:2, 3, 15-16
Matthew 10:7-15

What a beautiful passage in the first reading!  Hosea imagines the love of God as that of a very tender father loving his child.  The passage recalls what must be some of the most precious moments that parents enjoy in raising their infant children.  So God shows pride in saying, “it was I who taught Ephraim to walk.”  And God shows tender love in taking the child “in my arms” and drawing him “with bands of love.”  God bends down to “feed my child” and to raise him to his cheeks.

Can we doubt God’s love?  A passage like this really puts us on notice that we are the objects of God’s love!  And yet we do not believe it.

I recently heard of a good person who faithfully does his job for the good of others, but labors under an image of God that is nearly the opposite of Hosea’s.  The experience of the Vietnam War seemingly pushed away for him a conception of God as tender and loving.  To him God seemed remote and without care for him or others.  There must be so many who share this good man’s view.

I was saddened to hear this, but it made me reflect on my image of God and to discover a great need for growth and healing.  What is it about us human critters that can’t/won’t receive the love of God?  What makes us doubt like the apostle Thomas in the scene after Jesus’ resurrection (“I’ll not believe until I can probe his wounds with my hands”)?  To answer these questions would take wisdom and genius few of us have.

Like Thomas, we do doubt.  Can we at least make it our prayer to advance in our openness to accept God’s love?  Can we look to our experience and discover the ways that God is trying very concretely to get through to us in the offer of love?  Can we continue to receive the forgiving and healing love of Jesus that comes to us?

I certainly want to try; and I want to hope for positive answers to these demanding and somewhat daunting questions.


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